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October 15, 2015 § 13 Comments

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His mother was a wild creature and knew how to run. With the brown hair-like fleece of her feral descendants, she was living archaeology to the ancient sheep of the Asian mountains. Her son had slit yellow eyes, and slid onto the long grass when no one was looking. He was a good size and already at the teat when I found him. Feisty and proud with sharp, thick horns, I kept him as breeding stock.

That was eleven years ago. Every November he did his job. I put him in with the ewes, and five months later each one scraped a shallow bowl in the home field, lay down, and pushed out his lambs.

He stayed wild – he never let me know him. And he hated the sheep dog – teaching his family to scatter. Eleven is old for a sheep, and he knew. His age could be counted on the rings of his horns – his battle scars shiny and white on his forehead. He was a fighter – and had been battling again with his younger brothers to keep his place in the flock when I found him. His body looked wrong, his neck crooked. Perhaps dislocated.

The man came with the captive bolt in a shiny, black case. I made myself watch. I thought the killing would be easy, but the skull was old and thick. The ram fell forward when the crack came. Then he got up. Teetered. Shook himself. The man fetched a bolt strong enough for a cow. A louder crack, and the blood came like a bung lost from a barrel.

I walked away to be sick.

A while after that the lambs came. A brown ewe scraped and lay down to push her baby out. All day it wouldn’t come. I washed my hands and put my fingers inside. Legs. Two back ones and a tail. Sticky yellow shit and blood stains on my hands.

I waited for her to squeeze, and carefully twisted the lamb out of her. Long and thin, it stretched out on the ground. With no breath.

I cleared the mucus from its mouth, its nose. Rubbed it gently. Spluttering. It shook itself to life.

The mother heard the life noise. A lick, a snicker. The only sound she ever made.

~

I wrote the bare bones of this about ten years ago when I thought it was going to be a poem. I picked it up in 2012 and let it finish itself. I blogged it under the same title in 2013. It mostly really happened.

hawk

October 13, 2015 § 5 Comments

winter-flight-c2a9-christopher-martin-4499-2

frost at first light…

stillness

silence

small thing scampers –

sharpening

of

hawk’s

claw

~

Amazing image courtesy Christopher Martin

before he died…

September 20, 2015 § 4 Comments

high-moor-rebecca-mclynn

“fallen sick on a journey

in dreams i run wildly

over a withered moor”

~

basho writes.

i listen to radiohead.

Image courtesy rebecca mcclynn

cycle

May 28, 2015 § 2 Comments

bilde

breeze skitters…

stillness of the new born calf –

crows gathering

~

always

April 29, 2015 § 3 Comments

hatsuse_300dpi

blossoms

many blossoms

with the warmth of spring –

still the old man dies

~

Image courtesy Akazawa Yoshinori

flight

March 26, 2015 § 2 Comments

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on my windowsill

the

wing

of

a

butterfly –

warm spring rain

~

 

 

Image courtesy Anne Maundrell

hunter

March 23, 2015 § 9 Comments

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a tiny life

scuttles on the forest floor –

soon the kestrel

~

 

 

Image courtesy Michael Harrison

loneliness

January 15, 2015 § 14 Comments

Bres

derelict

cottage

on

the

stripped

bare

mountain –

bleached

bones

~

 

 

Image courtesy Alan Counihan

waiting

October 23, 2014 § 20 Comments

Yesterday I went to visit a beautiful house that is soon to go for auction. It’s called River Farm. As I knew I would, I fell in love. The old man who lived there, a well known naturalist, had recently died. The seventeenth century house was run down, the gardens wonderfully unkempt. As I pushed my way through the undergrowth towards the river, a female fallow deer stepped towards me. She had been waiting. She checked my hands, my pockets, my smell – then, certain I was not who she had been waiting for, disappeared into the mist…

shenandoh-foggy-forest_2083_600x450

 

 

 the old man’s deer waits

on

the

edge

of

the

forest-

tomorrow church bells

~

 

 

Image courtesy Getty Images

mort

September 5, 2014 § 5 Comments

stock-footage-macro-shot-of-mating-dragonflies

first autumn chill:

two dragonflies –

last love affair

~

Image courtesy Andrew Ezhov

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